Monday, September 24, 2012


by Linda Cliff

 A Biography from a Believer
          by Paul Johnson
Jesus of Nazareth is the most written about and discussed human being in history.    The author of this book looks at the records that are available about Jesus the man.  He talks about Jesus’ day to day life and teachings in the context of the Roman Empire of His time.  This description and discussions about Jesus in historical context added to my understanding of Jesus, both his humanity and his Godliness.

Since this is a biography, the author starts with Jesus’ birth, childhood and youth.  It is in this first chapter that the reader learns of the times and society into which He was born.  The New Testament stories of his birth are reviewed and contrasted adding to the wonder of the event.  The author also explores his childhood and youth looking at the accounts that are available and talks about how this time was used in preparation for his ministry.

The author continues with chapters highlighting the Miracles, Parables, and Jesus’ encounters with Men, Women, Children and the Aged.   Familiar bible stories are related and discussed to add to the reader's understanding of Jesus the man, yet God.  There is a chapter where Johnson looks at what he refers to Jesus’ new Ten Commandments.  He prefaces the chapter with the statement that these ideas come from “close study of the Gospels”.  Three of these new commandments are Balance, Mercy and Courage.  I found this to be a very interesting chapter as it takes the reader in a new direction and asks the reader to looks at how Jesus’ teaching are applicable to Christians today.

There is a chapter on the trial and Crucifixion of Jesus and then a wonderful chapter on the Resurrection.   Johnson begins the description of that day starting just before daybreak and  then continues with what happens during the ensuing hours.  He looks at the accounts of the resurrection from the Gospels and then synthesizes them into one story, start to finish. I found this helped me to understand the day in its entirety, something that I had not done before.  It was like reading a newspaper account of this wondrous event.

The Gospels are used as the source for the life of Jesus.  The author refers to this as eyewitness accounts and does it in such a way that you feel you are reading an historical account of Jesus’ life.  However, the emphasis is also on the spiritual significance and importance of these accounts.  When I finished reading this book I understood about the times in which Jesus lived and preached.  I also had a greater understanding of how His teachings and life continues to to be relevant: “I am the way, the truth, and the life”.

Ed. Note:  Linda has generously donated a copy of Jesus, a Biography from a Believer, to the church library.
For another review, click here   

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